Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 1000w Modular PSU Page: 1 Introduction
Back in June 2006 Coolermaster gave us the opportunity to review one of their first ever PSU's - the iGreen Power 430w. Designed for efficiency and silence along with decent performance, the iGreen Power ticked all the boxes with the OC3D review team and managed to nab our "Editors Choice" award along with our constant recommendation on the Overclock3D Forums.
Since then there has been an undeniable order for higher-wattage PSU's from the PC enthusiast community, with many manufacturers pushing out 800w+ units just to satisfy the demand. Whether or not all this power is required for current PC's is an open debate, but regardless of this; enthusiasts are still choosing the highest wattage units that they can get their hands on to ensure that the PSU is not a weak link in the chain of components while overclocking.
Coolermaster have undoubtedly been monitoring this trend, and as a result have stepped up to the plate with their own range of high-end powerful PSU's labeled as the "Real Power Pro" series. Today we'll be taking a look at the top-end model in the modular section of the range - the M1000.
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With the PSU industry already full of high wattage PSU's, it will certainly be interesting to see what extra features Coolermaster can bring to the table with their Real Power units. Let's first take a look at the specifications available on their website and product packaging for some clues.
The Real Power for the Ultimate High Definition Gaming Experience Unleashed! Ultra-High End Image reality calls for increasing processing power to handle the graphic complexity. Cooler Master's all new Real Power M1000 Modular PSU answers to the call for the most reliable power source to back up the elite technology to deliver excellent performance and superb image quality. Real Power M is specially designed for NVIDIA's next generation High End Graphic Cards. With our six ground-breaking +12V independent output rails for exceptional power distribution, Real Power M reliably powers the cards while you enjoy the out-of-this-world gaming experience.
1.World’s first six +12V rails for better power distribution in Quad-SLI and 2 ways server system 2.Modularized cable design to eliminate clutter and improve airflow inside the chassis. 3.Four 6 pin / Two 8 pin PCI-e connectors offer great future upgradeability 4.Compliance with the newest Intel standard ATX 12V V 2.3 5.Compliance with the newest SSI standard EPS 12V V2.91 6.Ultra-silent operation with intelligent 135mm fan speed control (< 16dBA) 7.Eco-design for energy and money saving by Active PFC.(>0.99)/ high efficiency(>85%) 8.Multiple protection function provides full-scale protection for your components 9.Safety Certification : CE, cUL, TUV, NEMKO, BSMI and FCC
With a total of six +12v rails, a modular cable design, support for the latest 8-Pin PCI-E graphics cards and a 135mm fan, Coolermaster certainly seem to have done their homework and have placed the Real Power Pro M1000 directly besides the likes of Enermax's Galaxy in terms of features.
Dipping into the more advanced specs, we can see that the Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 is capable of providing 1000w continuous power with a max output of 1200w. Impressively, Coolermaster also state that the M1000 has an efficiency level of 85%.
One thing the Coolermaster website doesn't tell us is the distribution of power among the M1000's rails. However a quick look at the specification sticker on the the side of the PSU shows us that the M1000 has a healthy 40amps available to both it's +3.3v and +5v rails and 18amps to each of its six +12v rails (with a total combined load of 81amps). There's no doubt that this PSU certainly means business, but we'll reserve judgment on it's overall performance until we get a chance to place it under the OC3D load tester on Page 4.
Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 1000w Modular PSU Page: 2 Packaging
There's no doubt that Coolermaster have aimed the M1000 at the high-end of the market, and the packaging certainly reinforces this. Using an over-sized, double-walled cardboard box with a simplistic black, white and grey colour scheme finished off with a gradient honeycomb effect, the M1000 outer-box looks as professional as the "Real Power Pro" name suggests.
In keeping with the simplistic stying, Coolermaster have also held back on the amount of information and specifications available on the packaging. At the front of the box you will only find a picture of the unit along with the CoolerMaster logo and name of the PSU. Moving around to the sides of the box doesn't let out much more information either, with only four simple logo's that represent: high efficiency, a 3yr guarantee, ultra silent operation and six +12v rails.
The back of the box is where specification junkies will get their fix, with Coolermaster printing many of the same specification tables found on their website (and page #1 of this review). Also included is a table that lists the modular cables provided with the M1000 along with a description of what cables are hard-wired into the unit.
To ensure that the M1000 arrives in tip-top condition, Coolermaster have gone to the trouble of placing 1" thick padding around the edge of the box along with a divider down the centre to keep the PSU seperate from any stray accessories. The PSU is also protected from scuffs and scratches by a clear plastic bag. Coolermaster have actually included quite a few extra's in with the M1000, so lets see exactly whats in the box:
• Coolermaster bottle opener on keychain. • Coolermaster adhesive case badge. • Velcro bag for storing modular cables. • Black ATX case screws. • Manual. • UK power cord.
Overall, top marks to Coolermaster for going the extra mile with both the packaging and contents.
Coolermaster have pushed out the boat once again by giving the M1000 the same gunmetal coloured Electroplated finish as their iGreen series. Personally I'm a sucker for this type of finish as it produces a hard-wearing, mirror-like surface that's almost comparable to a high-quality paintjob. I only wish they'd included some kind of cleaning cloth in with the accessories as the finish is very good at picking up fingerprints.
Coolermaster have made full use of the underside of the M1000 by fitting it with 135mm fan complete with an electroplated fan grill. Many manufacturers are opting for 135mm fans recently as these offer a slightly better noise-airflow ratio and have the added advantage of providing edge-to-edge cooling of the PSU internals.
The back of the unit is vented with a honeycomb mesh design that allows the heat dissipated by the 135mm fan to exit the back of a PC case freely. Also found at the back of the unit is an LED status indicator that changes from red to green when the PSU is powered on. Oddly, Coolermaster have opted not to place a power switch on the unit, making it quite awkward to perform a complete power-down of your PC.
Around the front of the unit we can see the M1000's modular system with a total of 10 connectors. Four of these connectors are in PCI-E 6-Pin and 8-Pin format, with the remaining six connectors using Coolermaster's own plug design. Just below the modular interface is a small grill that spans the length of the unit, providing additional cooling to some of the components contained within.
Much to my disappointment Coolermaster have placed a specification sticker on both sides of the unit, covering over a large portion of the gorgeous electroplated finish. A much better location for the sticker would be on the top of the unit as seen on many of PC Power & Cooling's units.
Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 1000w Modular PSU Page: 3 Internal Components
In the past, many people have judged the quality of a PSU on its weight and size of internal components. However, with many manufacturers moving on to newer and more efficient ways of designing their PSU's, it has become increasingly obvious that this is no longer a reliable method for gauging a power supply's quality. By looking inside the M1000 we should be able to identify some of the components used and get a good feel for the overall build quality of the unit.
With the M1000 coming in at 180mm long, the unit is considerably shorter that some of its 1kw+ rivals resulting in limited real-estate inside the unit. As we can see from above, Coolermaster has utilised every inch of available space, leaving very little leeway between each of the components. Previous experience has also shown us that this cramped layout can often be cause for concern due to the volume of heat produced by such a high powered PSU.
However, Coolermaster has attempted to avoid any potential cooling problems by installing two heavy-duty aluminium heatsinks that are finned in a way that compliments the direction of airflow through the unit. Of course, only the testing over the next few pages will show if these measures manage to keep temperatures under control.
Taking a closer look around the interior we can see that the M1000 has two large transformers in comparison to a single transformer found in most other power supplies. Judging by the specifications we can assume that the +12v1 , +12v2, +12v3 and +5v rails share the first transformer, with the +3.3V, +12V4, +12V5 and +12V6 rails sharing the second. By doing this, Coolermaster have roughly split the 1000w across both of the transformers allowing for better voltage stability across the board.
Due to the limited vertical clearance available inside the M1000, Coolermaster have opted for two low-profile capacitors instead of a single full-height capacitor. Unfortunately the capacitors had no distinguishing marks, so I was unable to verify their place of origin or quality.
The 135mm fan used inside the unit is manufactured by Young Lin Tech with a model number of DFS132512H, and is part of their high-speed range (denoted by the H). Unfortunately I was unable to find any technical specifications for this fan so we'll just have to see how it performs in the testing stage of the review.
Cables & Connectors
The modular power supply is one of those inventions that has the PC enthusiast communities split down the middle. Some think that the modular design is a great design - keeping the inside of your PC tidy while also maximising airflow. Others believe that it is unreliable and can cause increased resistance where poor connectors are used. Of course not all modular PSU's are made equal, so let's see what the M1000 has in store.
First off the M1000 isn't 100% modular. As we can see from above, Coolermaster have decided to hard-wire the ATX and 4/8-Pin CPU cables into the unit. This is more than likely because these cables will be required in almost every hardware configuration, and components such as the motherboard and CPU require the cleanest possible supply of power.
Coolermaster have gone for their own proprietary 5-Pin flat connector design for use with the Molex and SATA connectors, but have stuck with the tried and tested 6/8-Pin PCI-E style connectors for powering the PCI-E cables. Both of these methods offer extremely sturdy connections that should have minimal impact on performance.
The M1000 comes with a decent bundle of modular cables and a canvas pouch to keep any unused ones in afterwards. All cables are professionally sleeved in mesh up to the last connector with zip ties and heatshrink finishing the ends off.
The ATX connector on the M1000 is native 24-pin. However, as you can see above, a small block of 4 connectors can be broken off to switch the connector to 20-pin, thus make it compatible with older motherboards. As many motherboards still make use of the P4-12v 4-Pin connector, Coolermaster have also chosen to include two separate cables for P4-12v (4-pin) and EPS12v (8-pin) standards.
Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 1000w Modular PSU Page: 4 Load & Efficiency Tests
To provide our readers with the most accurate results, Overclock3D uses a custom built PSU load tester on all reviews. This not only gives much more reliable results than the testing methods employed by other sites, but also allows for all current and future review results to be compared side-by-side.
Efficiency tests are performed by measuring the wattage consumed by the power supply at the mains (Mains Draw) against the power consumed by the OC3D power supply stress tester (PSU Load). These results may not be 100% accurate, but have proven to be extremely close to results obtained from professional equipment.
The M1000 manages extremely good voltage regulation even at a huge 919w load. All rails remained within their ideal values throughout the testing, and I'm certainly confident of Coolermasters claim that this unit can produce a peak output of 1200w.
Coolermaster claim an efficiency level of 85%+ on the M1000, however during our testing the maximum efficiency level results we could obtain was 83.11% at 443w load. This certainly isn't a bad result as many PSU's are still hovering around the 80% efficiency mark, but it would have been nice to see our results mirror Coolermasters quoted levels.
In our continuing efforts to make power supply reviews more thorough, rather than simply checking voltage stability, Overclock3D will now be recording the temerature of each PSU as it undergoes testing. Temperature recordings will be taken from the underside of the PSU's outer casing at 0%, 50% and 100% load levels using a laser infrared thermometer in an attempt to gauge how much heat is likely to radiate into the end-users case.
With a 10°c difference in casing temperature from idle to full load, the 135mm fan inside the M1000 certainly doesn't seem to have any problems keeping everything cool. This is quite a relief, as one of the potential problems I highlighted earlier in the review was the cramped interior of the unit.
Noise Level Measurements
Possibly the hardest part of any PSU review is summarising the level of noise given out by the unit. The threshold for what is considered 'noisy' varies from person to person and therefore what I may consider a quiet unit, another person may consider extremely loud. For this reason, all reviews from this point forward will be using a dBA meter to measure the level of noise output by the PSU.
All noise measurements are taken in a quiet room with the dBA meter located 30cm away from the exhaust fan on the unit at 0%, 50% and 100% load levels. The results shown below have had the ambient noise levels deducted from the results to give a better representation of how likely you are to hear the PSU in a normal environment.
At both 0% and 50% loads there was very little audiable change in PSU noise levels with our dBA meter only registering a 4dBA increase. Moving up to 100% load caused the 135mm fan in the M1000 to speed up significantly, resulting in a 9dBA rise in noise levels.
Being the first PSU on OC3D we've tested using this method, it's hard to comment on the performance compared to some of the previous 1kw units we've reviewed. However, I will say that from a personal standpoint I found the M1000 to be very quiet at low to medium loads, and perfectly acceptable for my tolerances at full load.
Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 1000w Modular PSU Page: 5 Conclusion
The Coolermaster Real Power Pro M1000 is an extremely well rounded unit that combines all the features we loved from Coolermaster's previous iGreen series including high efficiency, quiet operation and a sexy electroplated exterior along with a beefy 1000w of raw and stable power.
Coolermaster have also managed to avoid any potential issues in the modular connector design by using a combination of PCI-E and homebrew connector types, along with hard-wiring the most important cables (ATX and EPS-12v) to the unit for optimal stability.
Being 180mm in length, the M1000 will also fit a much wider range of cases than some of the other 1kw+ units on the market, and despite having a rather cramped interior, the temperature and load testing results show no sign of any problems.
With prices around £180 (at time of review) over at YoYoTech and Scan, the M1000 is extremely good value when compared to many of the other modular 1000w units in its class. It is also worth mentioning that Coolermaster also manufacture the Real Power Pro in lower wattage units starting at 520w and going up to 850w - for those of us who don't need a full 1kw of power.
The Good • Extremely stable voltage regulation. • Decent 83% efficiency. • Sexy electroplated finish. • Silent operation thanks to a 135mm fan. • Extremely well packaged. • Sturdy modular connector system. • Competitive pricing.
The Mediocre • Fairly cool operation for a 1000w unit. • No power switch at the rear of the unit.
The Bad • Nothing to report.
Thanks to Coolermaster for making this review possible. Discuss this review in our forums.